Equitable research for a shared vision and mission

Photo by Katerina Holmes on Pexels

KIPP Public Schools is a network of 280 public charter schools focused on creating joyful, academically excellent environments where students can thrive. After 25 years of providing education in 28 regions, the national organization asked its community of students, families, alumni, and staff to help craft its first unified network-wide vision and mission statements.

A common vision and mission to unite the charter school network

Big Duck set out to create simple, timeless statements to inspire KIPP’s network of schools and align collective efforts. We designed a process to honor KIPP’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and center the voices of students, families, and alumni.

A listening process that incorporates the entire KIPP community

Over several months, we conducted research through online surveys and 40 in-person and virtual focus groups to reach a diverse pool of KIPP community members across age, stage, and geography. The process design reflected the diversity of KIPP regions and ensured participants felt comfortable sharing their perspectives. We engaged over 5,500 students, families, alumni, staff, and leadership throughout the process.

The sharing of a new North Star

Drawing on the overarching themes from the research process, Big Duck presented initial drafts to a working group of students, families, alumni, staff, and local board members who provided feedback and helped craft language. We brought the revised statements to the KIPP School Summit where more than 400 people shared overwhelmingly positive feedback. With the statements finalized, we created a rollout plan and materials to support KIPP in sharing the new mission and vision with its wider community.

We aimed to include our whole community in creating mission and vision statements that reflect our commitment to a more just world. Big Duck co-created an impressive inclusive research project that included the voices of over 5,000 students, alumni, family members, teachers, school leaders, and board members. Our new network-wide statements allow us to exclaim exactly what we stand for and who we are.

— Mariah Schroeder, Vice President of Impact & Innovation, KIPP Chicago (formerly, Director, Strategic Projects at The KIPP Foundation)


KIPP’s new mission and vision statements greet visitors on its website and in schools. The statements guide decisions across the expansive network of schools. KIPP proudly shares that the community was essential in creating these statements.